News Letter 5845-023
9th day of the Fifth month 5845 years after creation
The Fifth Month in the Sabbatical Year
The Second Sabbatical Year of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
August 1, 2009
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
We are sending this one out a day early so that our Brethren down under can read it before the Sabbath. As they usually get this News Letter part way through the Sabbath for them while we in North American are just starting ours.
This is now the 9 of Av, also called Tish B’Av. I have asked you to dedicate this day to a fast. Partly to remember all the past things that have happened on this day. Partly to seek Yahweh’s will in opening the door to Israel for Ephraim. This is a time to read the book of Lamentations. You may also want to watch this short video that was sent to me. It is of the city of David where I take people to show them where the Temple once stood. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132649
Special Note; This week brother Beau Beamesderfer sent me an article and I want you all to read it as he explains about the four fast of Zechariah. This is such a good study that this brother has shared. So in addition to this week’s article on Romans I include this new article on Researching Traditions in respect to the Fasts. You can read it at https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/?page_id=518
I also want to quote to you a section of Stephen Spykerman’s book “Who Are You America? Time to Lift Your Prophetic Veil!”
In the middle of the American Civil war (1861-65) things looked bleak, as the tide of the war seemed to favor the South who were rebelling against the Union. As the North had suffered many early reverses, Abraham Lincoln made an urgent appeal to the nation. In his Official proclamation of April 30, 1863, he called for a nation-wide day of fasting and prayer. Part of his Proclamation reads as follows;
“We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in number, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; but we have forgotten God! We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthen us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
President Lincoln’s words ring as true today as they did then. He knew America’s great material blessings had not been earned. He understood that the God of Abraham was the divine source of these blessings. As the people obeyed Abraham Lincoln’s call to prayer and fasting, God heard their pleas and the tide of war turned until final victory was sounded for the Union.
Fasting is also something each of us needs to do to humble ourselves and draw near to Yahweh and seek His will in all that we do. We need to do it more often than once or twice a year. Because this message of Abraham Lincoln’s is so powerful I have included the whole proclamation for you to read at the end of this News letter. By reading it you can clearly see how far from Yahweh all of our Israelite nations have moved and possible even some of us in just the last 150 years.
Humble yourselves this weekend. Repent of our own personal sins and ask Yahweh to help us to repent of the evil spirit that divides the house of Ephraim amongst itself and of that spirit that divides us from Judah. Pray that we will soon be restored to our rightful place united as one nation under Yahshua. Pray that He continues to restore all things as the day of His son’s return is quickly coming. Pray that we reach the rest of our brethren who are still asleep and have not yet heard this word.
Ezr 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
Isaiah 58: 1 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord? 6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
The second of three solar eclipses has occurred last week. There was one in 2008 and now this year and then next year again on the 1st of Av in 2010. One lady wrote to me to tell me she watched the Solar eclipse from where she was. I hope you all watched the video of the eclipse I shared with you last week.
Daniel 6:27 He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
Luke 21:11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord
Are you taking notice of these things, of the times you are in? There are signs in the heavens and we do have swine flu. Are you taking notice of the times you are living in?
Before we begin this week’s News Letter I must apologize for something I said last week. Last week I said the following; ‘We need leaders, so stand up Joseph, stand up Israel, stand up each and every one of you from all twelve tribes of Israel and let Yahweh know you are ready to go forward. Make some noise and be heard. Let Judah know Ephraim is coming and that he is keeping Torah more righteously than they are. Stand up Israel and do not be shy, the Creator of the entire universe is with us.’
Last week in the News Letter in my enthusiasm I stated Ephraim was more righteous than Judah. I should not have said that and had I of considered history more carefully; I would have realized that Judah has been more righteous than Ephraim for the past 2700 years. In fact Ephraim was so much like the gentiles that we were even called gentiles. But Judah too has missed the mark and both houses need to pull up their respected socks.
So I want to apologize for that careless and thoughtless statement.
The following responses also came in this week;
Hi there I have been trying to understand the moon cycle and started reading your teaching and using other websites to understand. However, the language you use may be common and obvious to yourself but for a regular jo Christian its a bit of a labyrinth, which I am happy to work my way around and learn. Please could you tell me what month we are currently in and how many Jewish months there are what their names are and what they mean. I trust I can follow your website to know when the holidays are coming up. By watching the moon over the last few days I know we just entered into a new month and the fishing should have been good.
I became a Christian by reading Angels on Assignment by Roland Buckie and know the Jewish holidays represent everything Christ has done for us because of it. I would really like to be able to celebrate these days as a way to honor Christ and really show others the real roots of our faith and the design from the beginning that we have lost.
I loved the teaching on how God marks us by keeping his law. Some of your stuff is hard to read as I said before but I am enjoying the challenge and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We all need to pray for those new people who are coming along. Please do not forget them in your prayers. And the following letter is exactly what I have been encouraging each of you to do. Find your notch and start to do what you can and let Yahweh work with you.
Thanks Ditchdigger for the endless supply of absolutely fascinating, informative, and often life changing information you’ve been sharing with us since July 23, 2006. I have been observing the 2009 Land Sabbath, and what I’m doing with neighbors. Conversations usually start, “Hay Pete, aren’t you growing a garden this year?,” “No,” I say, “it’s a Land Sabbath this year,” and so begins another explanation about the lunar calendar, the Sabbath, and YHVH’s Land Sabbath. So far not one person has any idea what I’m talking about. A few old hippies say “Yeah, the old-timers used to let the land rest every seven years, but they don’t understand either. “Oh that Jewish stuff you’re doing, Pete, gotta go now. “
Well, I’ve decided to publish a newsletter, (the old fashioned kind, one using paper). Rounding up all the information I been taking notes on for the last three years, I’ll begin with Babylon – are you in Babylon, and identifying the false doctrines and symptoms, with an exit strategy (a spell checker will be used).
The rag will also include Messianic e-zine address, sources of accurate information on Hebrew language, Hebrew Roots, Sacred Name, the newmoon/ barley Calendar and of course the Jubilee and Land Sabbaths, with brief reviews of sites.
I published a 16 page tabloid paper here on the Oregon Coast for 12 years, and actually made an estimated 25 cents an hour doing it.
Here is another person who is sharing those things we are teaching with others and helping them to get up to speed with what I am saying. I know I sometimes write things that are way beyond what the new person can understand. So this person is helping them. This is awesome and is what we all need to do. Tell others and share what we know and learn.
‘I have spent the last couple weeks bringing people up to speed on the timeline that you present and having them watch the video online. Many of the people that I have been talking to (via a Yahoo Message board) just began receiving your newsletter and were lost in some of the conclusions as they did not have the history. That was my task for the past couple weeks, was to summarize and condense several weeks newsletters to “just the facts sir, just the facts”. ‘
Each one builds on the foundation that others have already built. Make sure that what you add will withstand the fire to come. Stay close to the scriptures and never depart from them. If those things I have shared on this site can help then by all means copy them out. Add your own name if you want. It matters not to me. There are billions of people who need to be taught. We need more fishermen, and we need them now because the hunters are coming very soon. I will soon write about this.
To help share the things we have been saying, I have now finished the book on The Prophecies of Abraham. We are just giving it the final touches and it will go to publishing shortly. As soon as I get this done I will return to finishing the Chronological Order of Prophecies which was written last year and edited. It just needs to be put together and published as well.
Your prayers on both these projects are greatly needed. That I am able to complete the task at hand and that this will lead to many radio show interviews and other methods of sharing this message of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the curses that are associated with them. So please do pray for this if you could.
We have been showing you these past few weeks about the teachings of Paul and how they were as Peter said twisted by those who know not the Torah.
2Pe 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
We have had an excellent article by Ray Foucher and then Maria Merola and this was followed by another by Don Dalhover, all of them on Grace and the Law and last week we looked at the book of Galatians specifically.
We are showing you how many in the Christian world use grace in order not to keep the law and this is where they have erred. At the same time as we do this, this teaching will cause many in the Messianic groups to become uncomfortable. I know I am when I study this. Why? Because we too, need to be reminded that we are not saved because we keep the Torah. There is a line that some cross between keeping Torah for the Love Yeshua and keeping all the other laws to justify themselves.
Last week we covered the controversial subject of grace and law and we focused on Galatians and we showed you that Paul did not do away with the law. What we did show you was that if you use the law to gain your salvation you are in error. We also showed you that if you throw out the law and do not obey it, and claim that you are saved by grace alone that this too is in error.
Indeed you are saved by the grace of Yahweh and that alone, but you still need to obey the commands because you love Yahweh.
This week we will look at the controversial scriptures in Romans and show them as they should be.
I am again going to quote from Torah Rediscovered by Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz. Pages 115-117.
The theme of Shu’al’s letter to the Romans is similar to that is similar to that of his epistle to the Galatians, only more comprehensive. The main topic is justification, or righteousness (the same root is used for both in Hebrew and Greek). In Romans, the rabbi is seeking to expound on the theme of Yahweh’s righteousness in all its various aspects. As in Galatians, he also must deal with the concept of the Torah, for there were some in Rome as well who sought to be justified or made righteous by following the system of law that they thought was the Torah.
Since the themes are similar, the traditions of interpretation of the “law passages” are also similar. The church has consisted mostly of non-Jews throughout the centuries, most of whom have neither comprehended nor appreciated the Torah of Moses. Therefore they have taken little care to interpret the “law passages” properly. There are two key passages in Romans which have been especially misunderstood by many exegetes, resulting in a gross anti-Torah sentiment among the people of Christianity.
The first is in Romans 10:4 ‘For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.’ Many understand this verse to mean that Yeshua put an end to the Torah; that anyone who believes in Him no longer has any responsibility to follow the Torah, because Yeshua followed it for him.
A closer look at the Greek however reveals a different meaning. The Greek word translated “end” is the word telos (?????). This word actually stresses the “goal” or the purpose for something. When used in this verse, we can say that Messiah is the “goal (telos) of the law”. Or, as Stern commentary translates it, “Messiah is the goal at which the Torah aims”. In other words, in the context, Sha’ul is speaking of people seeking the righteousness of Yahweh. They should seek it as revealed in the Torah and most fully realized in the Messiah. Stern writes, ‘The goal at which the Torah aims is acknowledging and trusting in the Messiah, who offers on the ground of this trusting the very righteousness they are seeking. They would see the righteousness which the Torah offers is offered through Him and only through Him.’
Thus, instead of teaching that through faith in Messiah the Torah is now done away with. This verse teaches that the Torah’s goal is to point someone to the righteousness found through faith in the Messiah. However, as a new creation in Messiah after receiving Yeshua, he is now able to live the Torah lifestyle through the power of the indwelling Spirit of Yahweh. In so doing, he is living out who he now is-the righteousness of Yahweh in Messiah. The Torah is the revealed righteousness of Yahweh. The Torah lifestyle is the living out of that righteousness. What is it that is written in the new-creation heart and mind? The very Torah of Yahweh! (Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, ” I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.)
Now we will look at one of the passages most commonly used to demonstrate that the believer has no responsibility to follow the Torah: the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. To be sure, this is a difficult passage to understand completely. However, it can be interpreted accurately enough to confirm that it has nothing to do with eliminating a believer’s responsibility to live the Torah, to live the righteousness of Yahweh that he has become as a new creation in Messiah.
The key questions that we must ask about this passage are these: What has died? What has changed? Was it the Torah that died, or was it something else? We ask these questions because the first half of the chapter speaks about a death, a separation, a change that occurred when Messiah came into our lives.
We know from reading Mathew 5:17 that the Torah could not have died. It is Yahweh’s eternal Word! Therefore, something else must have died. What has changed is our relationship to the Torah, because of our changed relationship to sin. Before we knew Messiah’s righteousness by faith, we attempted to use the Torah as a means of earning righteousness, something it was never intended to be. Only one outcome could ever have resulted from such an illegitimate usage, and is condemnation-because such works-righteousness could never remove our sin.
When Yahweh brought us to faith in Messiah, however, everything changed. By faith, we transferred our trust from works we attempted to do ourselves to the finished work of Yeshua. Our new reality is that Messiah has atoned for our sin and made us new creations. In other words, we submitted to Yahweh’s righteousness found in Yeshua instead of relying on man’s righteousness through our own efforts.
Thus, our relationship to the Torah has changed. Before, because we were using it wrongly by attempting to earn our justification through following it, all the Torah could do was condemn us. Now, because we believe in Messiah and are trusting in Yahweh to justify us, the Torah has become something completely different. Just as its Author designed it to be, it is ‘Holy, Righteous, and good.” (Romans 7:12).
Or relationship to the Torah can change, according to Sha’ul, because the problem was not the Torah-it was sin. “Therefore, did that which is good [Torah] become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather is was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.” (Romans 7:13)
For years, many have been hearing a different interpretation of this crucial passage. Now we want a new voice to be heard. Listen to it one more time as a summary. This passage teaches that our enemy was sin, not the Torah. Because we are new creations in Messiah, our entire relationship to sin has changed. Therefore, our entire relationship to Torah has changed. Before Messiah, sin caused the Torah to be a book which, because we followed it in an attempt to earn righteousness, largely served to condemn us. But Messiah has shown us that we cannot earn righteousness. Rather, it is a gift from Yahweh to all who trust in the sacrificial atonement and the subsequent resurrection of Messiah. Hence, after we trusted in the Messiah, the Torah became for us what it was really meant to be all along: a holy, righteous, and good book.
Torah is Yahweh’s teaching to men about righteousness-what it is and how it behaves. The true believer (anyone who is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb) does not do in order to become. He does because he is what Yahweh has made him-righteousness of Yahweh in Messiah. Thus James writes, “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) The true Torah is the walk of faith-faith and rest in the finished work of Messiah. “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it’.” (Isaiah 30:15) Instead, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from Yahweh, and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to Yahweh’s righteousness’. Romans 10:3)
These words of Sha’ul summarize perfectly why and how man has perverted the true Torah of Yahweh into a system of works by which he believes he can establish his own righteousness. Read the rabbi’s words once again, and think about them carefully:
“Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from Yahweh, and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to Yahweh’s righteousness.”
James, fully comprehending this, declares, “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) “The man who looks into the perfect Torah”-the what?-“the perfect Torah that gives freedom”-that gives what? Freedom! Freedom for what?-Freedom to be who we are now!-“and continues to do this, not forgetting who he is but doing who he is-he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25, our paraphrase)
There is a righteousness that is by the Torah (Romans 10:5). It is a righteousness that is ours in Yahweh (Romans 10:3), and it is by faith (Romans 10:6). This is the Good News of Romans 10:16. But not all the Israelites accepted the Good News. Instead they, and mankind throughout the ages, have developed the concept of ”law”. As we have seen, performance-based acceptance is a detrimental theological idea all in itself.
“Thus says the Lord, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (Jeremiah 6:16) The true Torah is “a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:16-18)
When the words of life (true Torah) are changed into “law,” they cease to be the words of life.
We will next examine some of the passages in Romans from the book Hold fast pages 137-143.
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
The question from this passage is, “Who is a real Jewish person? It seems to be teaching that anyone whose heart is circumcised is a Jewish person. Thus, the thinking goes, gentile believers in Yeshua, having their hearts circumcised, are “spiritual Jews.”
We do not interpret this passage to mean that gentile believers in Yeshua are “spiritual Jews”. The reason is simple. In the context, Paul is addressing the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or the physical Jewish people. Gentiles were addressed in 2:1-16, Beginning 2:17, Paul began to speak directly to Jewish people.
In that light, Paul is making an important distinction in this passage. He s saying that although he descendant of Jacob is circumcised (in the flesh) that alone does not make him the kind of Jewish person Yahweh called him to be. To prove his point, Paul makes a play on the word “Jew”. The readers understood that the word “Jew” is a derivative from the word “Judah” (Yehuda), which means “one who praises Yah.” Hence Paul is saying that a descendant of Jacob who praises Yahweh from a new creation heart is a true worshiper of Yahweh. Mere physical circumcision does not make one’s heart circumcised. It is clear from the context that Paul was saying that the only way to receive this circumcision of the heart was to submit to Yahweh and receive His righteousness as a gift of grace through faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Any Jewish person who has done this is a spiritual, as well as physical, descendant of Abraham.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
In this section, Paul appears to say that the purpose of the Torah (rendered “law” in just about every English translation) is to give one a knowledge of sin (3:20). That is true. However, that is not the only purpose for the Torah. This is where many Bible teachers become confused. The reason that Paul says in this passage that the Torah reveals sin is because he is teaching that no one may be justified by living according to the Torah. If one were to attempt to do so, the Torah could only do two things for him: 1) help to make him aware that he is sinful and desperately in need of Yahweh’s righteousness instead of trying to establish his own, and 2) reveal the Messiah to him.
Verse 28 states the issue clearly when Paul declares that justification is a gift from Yahweh and has no connection whatsoever to what a person does, especially what a person does concerning Torah obedience.
In verse 31, Paul affirms the validity of the Torah. He says that the Torah itself teaches the principle of justification by faith and faith alone. Receiving Yahweh’s gift of salvation (justification) is perfectly consistent with the Torah’s teaching on the matter (see Genesis 15). Because of this, believing in Yeshua does not nullify the Torah; rather is upholds its teachings.
For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.
Here is another passage that appears to teach the purpose of the Torah. Like the previous section of Romans, many Bible students read, “for the law brings about wrath” and assume that, along with revealing sin, the purpose of the Torah is to bring about wrath. Our comments for this passage are similar to those made in Romans 3. The only things the Torah can do for the unbeliever who relies upon his adherence to a set of rules in order to earn his righteousness, is help to reveal his sin, warn him of the impending judgment of Yahweh’s wrath, and point him to the Messiah.
This passage is not in a context that speaks about following the Torah as a lifestyle for believers. Like most of the passages in Romans, the context is a refutation against the attempt to use the Torah as a mean of justification.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
When doing any teaching from the pages of the books of Moses is suggested to some believers in Yeshua, the usual response is something like, “Does not that make me under the law? In Yeshua I am under grace, not the law.” This rather typical response is based on such passages as Romans 6:14. We think that there is a better way to understand this passage. First, let us quote a respected Bible scholar on the meaning of the phrase in question and then we will finish with our won comments.
C.E.B. Cranfield has shed some light on the meaning of these two Greek phrases, helping us to perceive what Sha’ul actually meant as well as to understand more fully his true stand on the Torah.
‘It will be well to bear in mind the fact (which, as far as we know, had not received attention before it was noted) that the Greek language of Paul’s day possessed no word group corresponding to our “legalism”, “legalist”, and “legalistic”. This means that he lacked a convenient terminology for expressing a vital distinction, and so was surely seriously hampered in the work of clarifying the Christian position with regard to the law. In view of this we should always, we think, be ready to reckon with the possibility that Pauline statements, which at first sight seem to disparage the law, are really directed not against the law itself but against that misunderstanding and misuse of it for which we now have a convenient terminology.’
We encounter the same dilemma in the Hebrew language. There is no Hebrew word which can easily convey the concepts of “legalism” or “legalist”. Thus Sha’ul, whether using his Hebrew-oriented mind or his Greek language, was hindered in his attempts to explain that legalism was not what Yahweh intended.
Based on this understanding of the Greek in Romans 6:14, we can say, then, that this verse is teaching, that because Yahweh regenerated us and caused us to believe in Yeshua, we now have an entirely new relationship to sin. We no longer rely on any legalistic efforts to earn Yahweh’s righteousness. Instead, we rely on the grace of Yahweh. Legalism and grace never mix! Or, to put it in slightly different terms, law and grace never mix. But Torah and grace go hand in hand.
One of the many implications of trusting in the grace of Yahweh is that we become new creations in Messiah. This means, among other things, that we now have a new relationship to sin. It is just as 6:14 states, “sin is no longer our master”. For the new creation person, this is most definitely true! Relying on legalistic methods to attain salvation could never change our relationship to sin. Only trusting in the grace of Yahweh could affect such a change. For those of us who are now a new creation by virtue of the new birth, our relationship to sin is forever changed. The Torah is not a legalistic document. It describes the lifestyle of the redeemed, and it was never Yahweh’s intention that obeying it would achieve salvation.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET .” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
At first glance, this seems like a very devastating passage for those believers who desire to live by the Torah. After all, does it not say, “you were also made to die to the Law through the body of Messiah?”
Indeed this is a tricky passage. Keeping in mind two things will help to open up this passage for us in a more accurate way. First, as always, notice the context. These verses fall in the larger context of Romans 5-8. In this section of Romans, the rabbi from Tarsus is discussing some of the practical effects of being justified by grace through faith. As we stated in the previous verse, one of these effects is that a believer in Yahshua now has a completely different relationship to sin than he had before. He has died to sin and sin is no longer his master.
Secondly, verse 10-12 provide us with an insight into what Paul really thought of the Torah. As we can readily see from those verses, the Torah was not the problem. Sin was the real culprit in man. Let us see how this unfolds from this passage.
In 7:1-2, it becomes clear that before we trusted in Messiah, our problem was not the Torah, but sin! Sin is that which wrecked havoc with our lives. One of the miracles of the new birth-as this passage is pointing out-is that a believer does not relate to sin the same way any longer. Consequently, Paul says in verse 11, “for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment deceived me, and through it killed me.” Sin, not Torah was the problem. Human sin is what messed Yahweh’s pure word up!
Hence when Messiah comes into our lives we are released from our bondage to sin and any legalistic relationship we may have previously had with Yahweh’s teaching. That is what Paul means in verse 4 when he says that we were made to die to the law. Before Messiah came into our lives, we related to the Torah in a legalistic way. The only thing the Torah could do for us in those circumstances was to condemn us by revealing our sin to us. That relationship to both the Torah and to sin had to change.
Thank Yahweh that in Messiah it did change! As far as sin is concerned, it was circumcised from us and relegated to our flesh. (Romans 7:17 Colossians 2:11-13) As far as Torah is concerned, once our relationship to sin was changed through our becoming a new creation, the real value of the Torah for the believer began to come to light. Accordingly, Paul says several positive things about the Torah in verse 10-12.
Yahweh’s intention that the Torah would be real life for His people can now become fulfilled. It was our own sin that caused the life of the Torah to become death in us. Now in Messiah, Yahweh’s real intention for the Torah can be fulfilled in us. Yahweh’s Torah is Holy. There is nothing about it that needs to be avoided. It is not evil. It is not unhealthy for Yahweh’s people. In fact the Scriptures themselves clearly declare, “These words are not just idle words for you, they are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:47) It is a covenant and a set of instructions making clear to Yahweh’s people how to live out their new creation lives in the righteousness of Yahweh.
Yahweh’s Torah is good. The Greek word translated “good” is agathei (?????) . It stresses both external and moral goodness, and usefulness and perfection. It can also be rendered “useful”. In other words, far from the Torah being a detriment to the believers life, it is useful and helpful to follow for our spiritual, moral, and ethical well being.
The Torah is righteous. It is the teaching about Yahweh’s righteousness. Moreover, being intrinsically righteous, it was meant only for those whom Yahweh has made righteous by His grace. It is not a vehicle to attain righteousness; rather it is a book of instruction revealing what Yahweh’s righteousness looks like and how to live out the righteousness that we now have become in Messiah.
We will stop here for this week Brethren and I have special teaching for you next week. Which will explain so much to many of you that your heads will hurt.
Here is the Proclamation made by Abraham Lincoln from http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm
Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day
March 30, 1863
Senator James Harlan of Iowa, whose daughter later married President Lincoln’s son Robert, introduced this Resolution in the Senate on March 2, 1863. The Resolution asked President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of prayer and fasting. The Resolution was adopted on March 3, and signed by Lincoln on March 30, one month before the fast day was observed.
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.
May Yahweh watch over you and guide you in your spiritual growth and to know only the truth.
Joseph F Dumond